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Coat of arms of the Ludowingers and their descendants, the House of Hesse

The Ludowingers were a ruling dynasty in medieval Thuringia and Hesse . Her ancestor, Ludwig the Bearded (who had a brother Hugo and the latter a son Wichmann), comes from an aristocratic family that cannot be identified genealogically, which - like the relatives of the Reginbodonen - was closely related to the Archbishopric of Mainz and (also) had wealth on the Middle Main was.


Explanatory board on the ruins of the Ludowinger family castle, the Schauenburg near Friedrichroda
The Wartburg , founded around 1067 by Ludwig the Springer
The Creuzburg , built from 1165 to 1170 by order of Landgrave Ludwig II , grandson of Ludwig the Springer

Around 1040, Ludwig the Bearded was given a fiefdom north of the Thuringian Forest and built the Schauenburg (now in ruins) near Friedrichroda . However, these origins are legendary and are based only on unreliable Reinhardsbrunn sources.

Ludwig's sons Ludwig der Springer and Beringer von Sangerhausen , children with his wife Cäcilie von Sangerhausen, founded the Schönrain Monastery in their home country in Main Franconia around 1080 . In a document from 1100 the brothers are referred to as Counts of Schauenburg.

In the period that followed, the Ludowingers expanded their property in Thuringia, for example to include Sangerhausen, the inheritance of Cäcilies, the wife of Ludwig the Bearded († around 1080), and possessions on the Unstrut , the Adelheid, the widow of Count Palatine Friedrich III. , brought into her marriage to Ludwig the Springer. The latter built the Wartburg (first mentioned in 1080) above Eisenach as a new ancestral castle and in 1085 founded Reinhardsbrunn, the family's future monastery , in which Ludwig the Springer died.

In the stormy times of the investiture controversy , Ludwig the Springer was one of the most important opponents of Emperor Heinrich V. The thesis advocated by Wolfgang Hartmann is based on the pronounced anti-imperial attitude of the Ludowinger, his outstanding political position and on other facts that there are among the famous donor figures in Naumburg Cathedral The statues of the Wartburg builder Ludwig and his wife Adelheid are also located.

Even before 1122 prospered under Louis sons Ludwig and Heinrich the territory to possessions at Marburg and Kassel , in particular through the marriage of Louis I. († 1140) with Hedwig of Gudensberg the Hessian Gaugrafen, the heiress Giso IV. , Due to which after him after the death of Giso V. in 1137 the extensive inheritance of the Gisonen and Count Werner in Northern Hesse fell. The resulting connection of Thuringia with large parts of Hesse only ended with the Thuringian-Hessian War of Succession . Until 1247, the Hessian property of the Ludowingers was mostly administered by the younger brothers of the Landgraves, who functioned as Counts of Gudensberg and Hesse and resided in Gudensberg and Marburg; among them were Heinrich Raspe I. , Heinrich Raspe II. , Heinrich Raspe III. and Konrad Raspe .

Ludwig was in 1131 by King Lothar III. (von Supplinburg) raised as Ludwig I to landgrave . Thuringia was thus eliminated from the Duchy of Saxony as an area that was now directly part of the empire , and the Ludowingers assumed a position similar to a duke in Thuringia. Around the middle of the 12th century, the landgrave's main mint in Eisenach was established and a little later the Gotha Mint as the second Ludowinger mint. Under Ludwig II and Ludwig III. the territory of the Landgraviate could be expanded, while Hermann I tried to politically strengthen the position of his family, for example through marriage connections of his children. Previously, Hermann had to oppose the intention of Emperor Heinrich VI. fight back, the Landgraviate of Thuringia after the death of Hermann's brother Ludwig III. to be drawn in as a settled fief .

Hermann's son Louis IV. , Who with the later canonized Elizabeth of Hungary was married, hoping through the guardianship of his nephew Henry , the minor Margrave of Meissen, the Mark Meissen to reach. Although he received the contingent loan for the mark in 1226, he died the following year.

After the death of Ludwig IV's son, the only 19-year-old Hermann II , in 1241 Ludwig's brother Heinrich Raspe inherited the landgraviate, which he had already administered as regent when his nephew was a minor. A second brother, Konrad Raspe , administered the Hessian possessions of the house, but entered the Teutonic Order in 1234 , of which he soon became Grand Master . Heinrich Raspe, who was elected German rival king in 1246, died in 1247. With his death, the Ludowingians died out in the male line. Heinrich Raspe had already obtained the contingent loan from the Landgraviate of Thuringia for his nephew Heinrich, the Margrave of Meissen, in 1243. After armed conflicts in 1249, he was able to enforce his claims in Thuringia with the Weißenfels Treaty . However, these were initially not recognized by his cousin Sophie von Brabant , daughter of Ludwig IV. With the help of Albrecht I of Braunschweig, she tried to gain a military foothold in Thuringia from 1259, which resulted in the Thuringian-Hessian War of Succession (1247-1264). After a heavy defeat at Besenstedt near Wettin in October 1263, she finally had to renounce all claims in Thuringia in 1264, but successfully asserted her son Heinrich's claims to the Hessian property of the Ludowingers, who were independent as the Landgraviate of Hesse and in 1291 imperial principality under the current House of Hesse was, while Thuringia fell to the Wettins , who later divided it into the Ernestine duchies .

List of the ruling Ludowinger counts and landgraves

Gravestones of the Ludowingers

Grave slabs of the Thuringian Landgraves, formerly on the west wall of the Reinhardsbrunn Palace Chapel, photograph from 1891

The grave lay the Ludowinger was in her house monastery in Reinhardsbrunn , the 1085 Louis the Springer near the Schauenburg as a Benedictine monastery was founded. After a fire in the monastery church in 1292, eight new, posthumous grave slabs with high-quality ideal portraits were created simultaneously in the 14th century for Ludwig the Springer († 1123), his wife Adelheid von Stade († 1110), their son Ludwig I (†) 1140), his son Ludwig II († 1172), his wife Jutta († 1191), their son Ludwig III. († 1190), Ludwig IV. († 1227, son of Landgrave Hermann I , younger brother of Ludwig II.) And his son Hermann II. († 1243).

The monastery buildings fell into disrepair after being looted during the Peasants' War in 1525. The Ludowingian tombstones were moved to the castle chapel of the newly built Grimmenstein Castle in 1552 and, after its destruction in 1567, to the former foundry in front of the Grimmenstein. In 1613 Dorothea Maria von Sachsen-Weimar had it repaired and placed under a protective roof on the southern outer front the following year. After the abolished Reinhardsbrunn Monastery, which had been restored as a Saxon-Weimar official building since around 1600, and from 1826 onwards was transformed into a neo-Gothic country palace for Duke Ernst I of Coburg and Gotha , the monastery church was demolished in 1855, but a new castle chapel in its cloister wing built. The grave slabs were brought back to Reinhardsbrunn by Grimmenstein in 1874 and placed inside the porch of the church or in the connecting room of the church gallery. When the castle was first used as a fire brigade and police school in the GDR era and was redesigned as a hotel for the "VEB travel agency" in 1953, the landgraves' gravestones were moved to the Georgenkirche in Eisenach in 1952 , where they are still today, along with some gravestones from Wettinern , are placed in the choir of the nave.

See also


  • Karlheinz Blaschke: Ludowinger . In: Lexicon of the Middle Ages (LexMA). Volume 5, Artemis & Winkler, Munich / Zurich 1991, ISBN 3-7608-8905-0 , Sp. 2169.
  • Walter Heinemeyer:  Ludowinger. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 15, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1987, ISBN 3-428-00196-6 , pp. 307-309 ( digitized version ).
  • Josef Heinzelmann together with Manuel Aicher: Wolf cum barba. In: Archives for family history research. Volume 6, 2002, pp. 19-23 (on Armin Wolf's thesis that Ludwig the Bearded was from Ludwig von Mousson).
  • Josef Heinzelmann: Supplements to: Ludwig von Arnstein and his relatives, At the same time a contribution: The early Ludowingers (Counts in Thuringia). In: Genealogical yearbook. Volume 36, 1997, pp. 67-73.
  • Hans-Joachim Kessler, Konrad Kessler: On the trail of the Thuringian landgraves . Sutton Verlag, Erfurt 2010, ISBN 978-3-86680-668-9 .
  • Tilo Köhn (Ed.): Brandenburg, Anhalt and Thuringia in the Middle Ages. Ascanians and Ludovingians building princely territorial rule . Böhlau, Cologne-Weimar-Wien 1997, ISBN 3-412-02497-X , pp. 241-294.
  • Hans Patze and Walter Schlesinger: History of Thuringia . Second volume, first part. Cologne 1974, ISBN 3-412-02974-2 , pp. 10-41.
  • Jürgen Petersohn: The Ludowingers. Self-image and memory of a high medieval imperial dynasty. In: sheets for German national history . Volume 129, 1993, pp. 1-39.
  • Steffen Raßloff , Lutz Gebhardt : The Thuringian Landgraves. History and legends . Rhino Verlag, Ilmenau 2017, ISBN 978-3-95560-055-6 .
  • Wilfried Warsitzka: The Thuringian Landgraves. Publishing house Dr. Bussert & Stadeler, Jena 2003, ISBN 3-932906-22-5 .
  • Reinhard Zöllner : The Ludowingers and the Takeda . Feudal rule in Thuringia and Kai no kuni Dieter Born, 1995, ISBN 3-922006-09-4 .

Web links

Commons : Georgenkirche Eisenach - Landgrafensteine  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Wolfgang Streguweit: History of the Gotha Mint from the 12th to the 19th Century. Weimar 1987, p. 24.